Several prominent Florida Republicans have admitted that election law changes in Florida were geared by Florida GOP staff and consultants to suppress Democratic voters, a violation of federal law.
Earlier this year, Republican leaders said that the new voting laws were meant to fight voter fraud, but now former GOP officials and current GOP consultants have told the Palm Beach Post that the goal was voter suppression.
The new voting laws, implemented by Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott, scrubbed legitimate voters off the rolls and limited the amount of time for early voting, causing enormous lines on Election Day.
Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer told the Palm Beach Post: “The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates. It’s done for one reason and one reason only. … ‘We’ve got to cut down on early voting because early voting is not good for us.' They never came in to see me and tell me we had a (voter) fraud issue. It’s all a marketing ploy.”
Greer is now under indictment for allegedly stealing $200,000 from the Florida GOP through a phony campaign fundraising operation.
Greer has sued GOP leaders, whom he claims knew what he was doing and voiced no objection.
Brian Burgess, Florida GOP spokesman, told the Palm Beach Post: "Jim Greer has been accused of criminal acts against this organization and anything he says has to be considered in that light."
However, GOP consultant Wayne Bertsch backed up Greer: “In the races I was involved in in 2008, when we started seeing the increase of turnout and the turnout operations that the Democrats were doing in early voting, it certainly sent a chill down our spines. And in 2008, it didn’t have the impact that we were afraid of. It got close, but it wasn’t the impact that they had this election cycle."
Another GOP consultant, who did not give his name, also confirmed that consultants to the Republican Party of Florida were intent on stopping Democratic turnout in early voting after 2008.